Who is Kalu & The Electric Joint?
Kalu and the Electric Joint blend the powers of psychedelic soul music with the driving beat of rock and roll and the ancient rhythms of Africa. This musical chemistry comes from the bond forged by frontman Kalu James, who emigrated from Nigeria at age 18 to claim Austin as his new home, and guitarist Jonathan “JT” Holt, who adds a touch of American soul to Kalu’s West African heritage. Kalu and JT connected through the hustle of the Austin music scene, writing songs together and discovering immediately that the talents of each complemented the other. The musicians honed their vision during a weekly residency at Austin’s Continental Club Gallery that was initially intended to last only a month but eventually stretched to three years. Drummer and percussionist, John Speice, who had a longstanding Austin connection with JT, had spent his life mastering rhythms Kalu had grown up with, making him a perfect fit for the group.
Time Undone, Kalu and the Electric Joint’s forthcoming album, testifies to the band’s talent and mission with tight arrangements, stunning vocals and a deep well of influences. The album is sonically woven with the low-end theory of hip-hop, yet it has the drive of heavy-hitting rock and roll and futuristic psychedelia. Kalu and JT wrote the album’s songs, perfecting them during their nights at the Continental Club Gallery. The group recorded the album with producer Brett Orrison, known for his work with The Black Angels and Widespread panic, over a year’s time at Nest Recording in Driftwood, Texas. The album features guest appearances by members of Widespread Panic, The War on Drugs, The Sword, and Grupo Fantasma. With deep lyrics, ethereal arrangements, youthful exuberance, and a positive message, Kalu and the Electric Joint make a lasting impression on everyone who hears them.
Starting with the sounds of his homeland and a lifelong passion for the unorthodox approach, Kalu blazes an inclusive trail for himself that could not be more genuine. He embraces not only the creative attitude of his adopted hometown but also the traditions of his past. Remaining deeply in tune with the traditions of his upbringing, he balances his responsibilities to his family in Nigeria while pursuing his calling in the U.S. Having recently become an American citizen, he’s ready to add to this country’s greatest export – its music.
Whether seeing Kalu and the Electric Joint throw it down in the clubs of Austin’s bustling South Congress scene or hearing the music of Time Undone for the first time, it’s blatantly obvious that this music evokes a wide range of emotions. This band comes to play and when they do, the dance floor never stays empty.
We’re so excited to have Kalu & The Electric Joint as our December Artist of the Month. Take a listen below and follow them on Facebook HERE, Twitter HERE, and Instagram HERE or visit their website HERE.